Lecture Topics and Readings
The Pre-Darwinian Views of Nature  

The first section looks at pre-evolutionary science and considers the types of questions in natural history, geology, and materialist philosophy that led to a questioning of accepted norms and paved the way for Darwin.   A particular focus of this section will be the philosophy of Natural Theology, the endeavor in which one studied nature to find evidence of God's benevolence and to unravel God's plan of creation.   Readings in this section include William Paley's 1802 classic Natural Theology , which outlined the tenets of Intelligent Design and which has been revived in the current evolution controversy, and Evolution: The History of an Idea.


A. Ideas About Nature Drawn From Genesis
B. God's Plan: The Great Chain of Being
C. Linnaeus and the Fall of the Great Chain
D. John Ray, William Paley, and the Argument from Design
E. Erasmus Darwin, Lamarck, and the Progression of Life

Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution
The second section focuses on Darwin and On the Origin of Species.   Topics include Darwin's Beagle voyage and observations that led him to question the stability of species.   We also consider the reception of Darwin's theory in both the scientific and religious arenas.   This section concludes with the Huxley/Wilberforce confrontation at the 1860 meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science that traditionally serves as the opening salvo in the evolution/creation controversy.   Readings include selections from On the Origin of Species , How to Read Darwin, and Evolution: The History of an Idea.

A. The Voyage of the Beagle
B. Darwin: the Years In Hiding
C. Thomas Malthus and the Struggle For Existence
D. The Origin of The Origin of Species
E. Publication and Controversy
F. The Evolution of Darwin's Religious Views

Evolution in 20th and 21st Century America
The final section considers the course of the evolution/creation controversy in 20 th and 21 st century America.   This section begins with the events that led to the 1925 Scopes trial, and its aftermath.   In Scopes, victory was claimed by both sides, but in the years following, evolution was gradually removed from the textbooks.   1959's launch of Sputnik led to a revision of the science curriculum, which, in turn, led to the re-introduction of evolution as the core of biology.   In the years following, creationism morphed into Creation Science and finally into Intelligent Design in response to a number of landmark court cases, most notably in Arkansas and Louisiana.   The current climate of the debate today is dominated by last-year's Intelligent Design trial in Dover, Pa.   In this section, lectures cover the court cases and the scientific arguments on both sides.   Readings will include Of Pandas and People, Evolution vs Creationism, and Trial and Error , as well as selected scientific and creationist articles.

A. William Jennings Bryan, World War I, and the Foundations of Christian Fundamentalism
B. The Scopes Trial and its Aftermath
C. Sputnik and the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study
D. Epperson V Arkansas and the Collapse of Anti-Evolution Laws
E. The Rise of Scientific Creationism
F. Laws for the Balanced Treatment of Evolution Science and Creation Science
G. Mclean v Arkansas, Edwards v Aguillard and the Fall of Scientific Creationism
H. Intelligent Design and the Discovery Institute
I.Dover and Beyond
J. Stealth Creationism: Teaching the Controversy, Supporting Academic Freedom, and
    Encouraging Critical Thinking